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CRPF Inspector claims he killed Udhampur terrorist

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BSF submits video and recordings to NIA.

Suresh Kumar, 56, an Inspector of the Central Reserve Police Force, has just nine months to retire and he wants his share of credit. He has been part of counter-insurgency operations like Operation Black Thunder-II of 1988 to clear the Golden Temple in Amritsar of Sikh militants. He said it was he who killed the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist at Udhampur on August 5.

A bus, part of a BSF convoy, had come under attack from LeT terrorists Noman and Mohammad Naved, who was later arrested. The BSF has said it was constable Rocky, the only armed BSF jawan on the bus, who killed Noman.

Supporting Mr. Kumar’s claims, the CRPF has submitted the video footage of the encounter and the statements of eyewitnesses to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case. Sources in the CRPF said they had no intention of denying the valour of the slain BSF constable Rocky, but said the Inspector also deserved recognition. The video, shot by locals, shows that between 7.20 a.m. and 7.23 a.m., nearly five minutes after the encounter started, there was no firing from the bus and probably Rocky was killed by then by a bullet fired by Noman’s AK-47. Noman was still alive, lying on the road with injuries. Mr. Kumar said he reached the spot between 7.28 a.m. and 7.30 a.m. and fired at Noman and killed him.

On the day of the incident, Mr. Kumar and his team were posted on the Jammu Highway, between milestones 79 and 93, to conduct road opening patrolling (ROP) for Amarnath pilgrims. “My duty started at 5 a.m. I had to secure the road for Amarnath pilgrims. Between 7.15 a.m. and 7.20 a.m., I got a call from constable Girdharilal posted in a bunker near the site of the incident saying a BSF bus had come under attack. I started running and reached the spot in the next 8-10 minutes along with two other constables,” Mr. Kumar told The Hindu.

When he reached there, he took shelter behind a truck and heard a loud sound. He saw a man lying on the road, with a grenade nearby. (Noman had tried to throw the grenade into the bus but it hit the windowpane and bounced back and exploded). “Initially, I thought it was a BSF jawan, but I checked his shoes, which were civilian. He was wearing capris and also had a long beard. It was then that I fired at him, he facing the bus. He immediately turned towards me and pulled the trigger of his AK-47. I fired constantly till he stopped moving,” Kumar said. He said it was possible that Noman would have been injured by Rocky’s fire earlier but there was no contradiction of the fact that his bullet dealt the final blow.

A week after the attack, investigators found 25-30 bullet marks near the roof of the bus. A reconstruction of the scene of the incident revealed that the two terrorists tried to flag down the bus and started firing at it from a distance, the bullets piercing through the bus, which had 42 BSF jawans on board. All of them ducked to avoid being hit by the bullets fired by Noman. The encounter continued for at least 15 minutes.

BSF Director-General D.K. Pathak had earlier said: “There is absolutely no doubt who killed the terrorist; it was BSF constable Rocky. The reinforcements reached 25 minutes later.” BSF jawan Subhendu Rai was also killed in the crossfire.

When contacted, CRPF Director-General Prakash Mishra said: “One of our Inspectors and a jawan reached the spot within minutes of the start of the encounter and he says he killed Noman. There is a video to prove this. We have shared the video footage and other proof with the NIA. This footage has been shot by the locals, so it is an independent source and can be verified. We are not trying to score points over the BSF, but the CRPF team did its bit.”

After the encounter, Naved held three locals hostage at gunpoint on the other side of the road and moved up the adjacent hills. He was overpowered by the locals and handed over to the police.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 8:54:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/crpf-inspector-claims-he-killed-udhampur-terrorist/article7626369.ece

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